Bond Style – Connery’s Navy Velvet Dinner Jacket

Sean Connery as James Bond in Diamonds are Forever (1971)

Sean Connery as James Bond in Diamonds are Forever (1971)

Vitals

Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent in repose

At sea, Spring 1971

Film: Diamonds are Forever
Release Date: December 17, 1971
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Master: Ray Beck
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair

Background

Sean Connery’s final scene as the official James Bond finds him in a quintessentially 007 scenario enjoying a romantic dinner with a beautiful woman. Having foiled the nefarious plans of Ernst Stavro Blofeld once more, Bond and Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) take to the sea for a leisurely cruise across the pond, reminiscent of the novel’s own passages set aboard the Queen Elizabeth.

If you're curious about the ship featured in the film, the aficionados at AJB007 have suggested that it's a P&O ship... possibly the SS Canberra.

If you’re curious about the ship featured in the film, the aficionados at AJB007 have suggested that it’s a P&O ship… possibly the SS Canberra.

With New Year’s Eve celebrations around the corner, I’m sure many BAMF Style readers are planning to ring in the new year with style. Consider sporting a velvet dinner jacket in a celebratory but tastefully subdued darker color like burgundy, hunter green, or navy. As the former two colors may be more associated with the Christmas holiday, let’s take a look at the latter as worn by Mr. Bond at sea.

What’d He Wear?

Diamonds are Forever features Sean Connery wearing his most varied and colorful wardrobe as James Bond, reminiscent more of the fashionable clothing worn by George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service than Connery’s own “uniform” of gray suits and navy grenadine ties that he had established in Dr. No.

Sean Connery makes his last official EON Productions appearance as James Bond in a creative black tie ensemble anchored by a navy velvet dinner jacket, appropriate for an intimate dinner at sea. You can read about this jacket, shirt, bow tie, and trousers in comprehensive detail in Matt Spaiser’s definitive 007 style blog, The Suits of James Bond.

Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) puts quite a show into opening a claret for Bond... unaware that it is a claret, of course, and sealing his own fate.

Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) puts quite a show into opening a claret for Bond… unaware that it is a claret, of course, and sealing his own fate.

007

The well-cut velvet jacket has slim, self-faced shawl lapels that roll to a single-button front that Connery wears fastened throughout the scene, including while seated.

The sleeves are roped at the shoulders and have four buttons at each cuff. Pocket flaps and double vents are generally not preferable with evening wear, but both are more acceptable for dressed-down or fashionable pieces like this jacket.

Bond wears a light blue shirt that, other than the spread collar, is consistent with the details of Connery’s Turnbull & Asser shirts that he wore with his business suits earlier in the series including a front placket and the character’s signature two-button turnback cuffs also known as “cocktail cuffs” among other epithets.

(007 first wore a cocktail cuff shirt with black tie in Thunderball when he wore a white shirt with a sleek midnight mohair dinner suit to a casino in the Bahamas.)

Bond’s black silk bow tie is a large butterfly (or “thistle”) shape, though it’s hardly to the comically large proportions that less stylish men were wearing in the ’70s.

James Bond, confident that his bow tie won't mark him for inclusion in future Buzzfeed articles decrying 1970s fashion. (He obviously forgot about the short pink tie he had been wearing earlier...)

James Bond, confident that his bow tie won’t mark him for inclusion in future Buzzfeed articles decrying 1970s fashion. (He obviously forgot about the short pink tie he had been wearing earlier…)

Bond wears dark formal trousers with the traditional single black side stripe down each leg. They may possibly be the same as the black flat front formal trousers he wears with his off-white dinner jacket in Las Vegas, but they can’t be the same as the distinctive black dinner suit with its red-accented facings and details.

His shoes are black cap-toe oxfords worn with black silk dress socks.

Poor Mr. Wint.

Poor Mr. Wint.

If you like the look of the navy velvet shawl-collar dinner jacket, you can also channel Colin Firth’s look in Kingsman: The Secret Service when Galahad sports a “dope-ass smoking jacket” with a white formal shirt, black bow tie, and Black Watch plaid trousers for a McDonald’s dinner with Samuel L. Jackson’s character.

What to Imbibe

Snobbery saves the day for James Bond and Tiffany Case when 007 traps his would-be wine steward into revealing his lack of expertise over a bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild.

Mr. Wint: Wine, sir? Mouton Rothschild ’55. A happy selection, if I may say.
Bond: I’ll be the judge of that… that’s rather potent. Not the cork, your after-shave. Strong enough to bury anything… but the wine is rather excellent. Although, for such a grand meal, I had rather expected a claret.
Mr. Wint: Of course. Unfortunately, our cellars are rather poorly stocked with clarets.
Bond: Mouton Rothschild is a claret. And I’ve smelled that aftershave before, and both times I’ve smelled a rat!

These fightin’ words send Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) leaping into action with the dubiously effective weapon of two flaming skewers. Bond grabs the nearby bottle of Courvoisier and – as these two bozos likely neglected to remember that brandy is flammable – quickly renders the poorly coiffed Mr. Kidd aflame.

To learn more about Mouton Rothschild’s appearance across Bond canon, the wine’s iconic label, and the use of its 1955 vintage in Diamonds are Forever, check out James Bond Lifestyle.

To avoid being foiled by Mr. Bond in the future, arm yourself with the knowledge that a "claret" is a traditionally British English term for red wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France.

To avoid being foiled by Mr. Bond in the future, arm yourself with the knowledge that a “claret” is a traditionally British English term for red wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France.

If cocktails are more your speed, you can follow Bond’s post-prandial example in the novel Diamonds are Forever when he and Tiffany Case are headed back to England on the Queen Elizabeth:

They got into the lift for the Promenade Deck. “And now what, James?” said Tiffany. “I’d like some more coffee, and a Stinger made with white Crème de Menthe, while we listen to the Auction Pool. I’ve heard so much about it and we might make a fortune.”

How to Get the Look

Sean Connery’s tenure as James Bond ended as it began with the actor in black tie.

Nearly a decade had passed since 007’s introduction in Dr. No, and the creative yet elegant approach to dinner dress in Diamonds are Forever show just how much fashion had evolved in those nine years.

  • Navy velvet single-button dinner jacket with slim shawl lapels, welted breast pocket, slanted flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and double vents
  • Light blue poplin dress shirt with spread collar, front placket, and 2-button turnback/cocktail cuffs
  • Black silk butterfly-shaped bow tie
  • Black wool flat front formal trousers with silk side stripe, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Black leather cap-toe oxford shoes
  • Black dress socks

If you’re worried about evoking Hugh Hefner’s smoking jacket – don’t. There are quite a few factors that differentiate a velvet dinner jacket from a smoking jacket, including how you wear it. Plus, the item is coming back en vogue according to a December 2017 GQ article calling velvet dinner jackets “the easiest holiday party hack around”.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie.

...and have a happy new year!

…and have a happy new year!

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